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What should I know about newborn screening?

Key Points:

  • Newborn Screening, also known as Metabolic Screening, is a medical analysis performed on babies shortly after birth.
  • It helps detect metabolic diseases and is conducted between the second and third day after birth.
  • It’s crucial for early detection of metabolic diseases.
  • There are other optional tests or screenings that can also be done on newborn babies.

What’s the deal with newborn screenings?

When your little one enters the world, there are many things you need to consider to take care of their health. Newborn Screening is a fundamental tool that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Newborn Screening, also known as Neonatal Screening or Heel Stick Test, is a simple but super important medical analysis done on babies shortly after birth. It is done by poking the baby’s heel to get a blood sample. Don’t worry, it’s safe and practically painless for the baby, although it might cause a slight discomfort at the moment.

What ‘s the purpose?

The screening test usually done at birth is the Metabolic Screening. It’s all about detecting metabolic diseases that could jeopardize the baby’s life, cause delays, or lead to feeding issues. The diseases it can detect are mostly rare, except for hypothyroidism, which is the most common disease detected by this screening.

Early detection of metabolic diseases is crucial to avoid severe damage or complications like mental delays, intensive therapies, or even death.

When is it done?


The metabolic screening is performed between the second and third day after birth, because the baby needs to eat for any metabolic issues to be detectable. If your baby is born at home, it’s a good idea to head to the hospital for the test two or three days after birth.

The results of the metabolic screening are usually delivered around two weeks after birth because it takes a bit of time to detect all the diseases.

If there’s any sign of disease in the screening, the pediatricians and parents are notified, and usually, the test is repeated to confirm the presence of the disease and make sure it wasn’t a sample error.

Other Tests

In addition to the metabolic screening, there are other optional tests or screenings that you can do for your baby, like:

  • Auditory Screening: It’s for detecting hearing issues, and catching them early gives a much better prognosis for language and development.
  • Ophthalmological Screening: Even though newborns haven’t fully developed their visual abilities yet, this one measures their response to visual stimuli.
  • Cardiovascular Screening: It detects major cardiovascular diseases.

Although these tests are optional, the first one recommended is always the metabolic screening, and the auditory screening comes next.

The metabolic screening for newborns is essential for taking care of your baby’s health, allowing for early detection of metabolic diseases and timely intervention.
It’s essential for all parents to be informed about the importance of this analysis and actively participate in their little ones’ healthcare from day one.

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